Angel of the North
The Angel of the North is a contemporary sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, designed by Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley
Antony Mark David Gormley OBE RA is a British sculptor. His best known works include the Angel of the North, a public sculpture in the North of England, commissioned in 1995 and erected in February 1998, Another Place on Crosby Beach near Liverpool, and Event Horizon, a multi-part site...

, which is located in Gateshead
Gateshead is a town in Tyne and Wear, England and is the main settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead. Historically a part of County Durham, it lies on the southern bank of the River Tyne opposite Newcastle upon Tyne and together they form the urban core of Tyneside...

,formerly County Durham, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...


It is a steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 of an angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

, standing 20 metres (65.6 ft) tall, with wings measuring 54 metres (177.2 ft) across. The wings themselves are not planar, but are angled 3.5º forward, which Gormley used to create "a sense of embrace".

It stands on a hill on the southern edge of Low Fell
Low Fell
Low Fell is a fell in the English Lake District. It overlooks the lake of Loweswater to the south and to the north is bordered by its neighbour Fellbarrow. It is usually climbed from the villages of Loweswater or Thackthwaite. The fell is largely occupied by grassed enclosures, although there are...

, overlooking the A1 and A167 road
A167 road
The A167 is a road in North East England. Most of its route was formerly the A1 as most of it is the original route of the Great North Road until the A1 was re-routed with the opening of the A1 in the 1960s....

s into Tyneside
Tyneside is a conurbation in North East England, defined by the Office of National Statistics, which is home to over 80% of the population of Tyne and Wear. It includes the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Metropolitan Boroughs of Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside — all settlements on...

, and the East Coast Main Line
East Coast Main Line
The East Coast Main Line is a long electrified high-speed railway link between London, Peterborough, Doncaster, Wakefield, Leeds, York, Darlington, Newcastle and Edinburgh...

 rail route, south of the site of Team Colliery.


Work began on the project in 1994 and cost £
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

1 million. Most of the project funding was provided by the National Lottery
National Lottery (United Kingdom)
The National Lottery is the state-franchised national lottery in the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man.It is operated by Camelot Group, to whom the licence was granted in 1994, 2001 and again in 2007. The lottery is regulated by the National Lottery Commission, and was established by the then...

. The Angel was finished on 16 February 1998.

Due to its exposed location, the sculpture was built to withstand winds of over 100 mph (160 km/h). Thus, 600 tonnes of concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

 were used to create foundations which anchor the sculpture to rock 70 feet (21.3 m) below. The sculpture was built at Hartlepool Steel Fabrications Ltd. using Corten weather resistant steel. It was made in three parts—with the body weighing 100 tonnes and two wings weighing 50 tonnes each—then brought to its site by road. It took five hours for the body to be transported from its construction site in Hartlepool
Hartlepool is a town and port in North East England.It was founded in the 7th century AD, around the Northumbrian monastery of Hartlepool Abbey. The village grew during the Middle Ages and developed a harbour which served as the official port of the County Palatine of Durham. A railway link from...

, up the A19 road
A19 road
The A19 is a major road in England running approximately parallel to and east of the A1 road, although the two roads meet at the northern end of the A19, the two roads originally met at the southern end of the A19 in Doncaster but the old route of the A1 was changed to the A638. From Sunderland...

 to the site.

The Angel aroused some controversy in British newspapers, at first, including a "Gateshead stop the statue" campaign, while local councillor Martin Callanan
Martin Callanan
Martin Callanan is a British Conservative Party politician. He has been a Member of the European Parliament for the North East England constituency since 1999, and was re-elected in 2004 and 2009...

 was especially strong in his opposition. However, it has since been considered to be a landmark for the Northeast of England and has been listed by one organisation as an "Icon of England". It has often been used in film and television to represent the Northeast of England, as are other local landmarks such as the Tyne Bridge
Tyne Bridge
The Tyne Bridge is a through arch bridge over the River Tyne in North East England, linking Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead. It was designed by the engineering firm Mott, Hay and Anderson, who later designed the Forth Road Bridge, and was built by Dorman Long and Co. of Middlesbrough. At the time...

, the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge
Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge
The Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge or Tees Transporter Bridge is the furthest downstream bridge across the River Tees, England. It connects Middlesbrough, on the south bank, to Port Clarence, on the north bank. It is a transporter bridge, carrying a travelling 'car', or 'gondola', suspended from...

 and the Penshaw Monument
Penshaw Monument
Penshaw Monument is a folly built in 1844 on Penshaw Hill between the districts of Washington and Houghton-le-Spring, within the City of Sunderland, North East England...


The sculpture is known locally as the "Gateshead
Gateshead is a town in Tyne and Wear, England and is the main settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead. Historically a part of County Durham, it lies on the southern bank of the River Tyne opposite Newcastle upon Tyne and together they form the urban core of Tyneside...

Exhibitionism refers to a desire or compulsion to expose parts of one's body – specifically the genitals or buttocks of a man or woman, or the breasts of a woman – in a public or semi-public circumstance, in crowds or groups of friends or acquaintances, or to strangers...

", because of its location and appearance. The sculpture was decorated in 1998 by fans of the Newcastle United football team who paid tribute to local hero Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer OBE, DL is a retired English footballer. He played as a striker in the top level of English league football for Southampton, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and for the England national team...

 by putting a £1,000 team shirt over the Angel, complete with Shearer's name and famous number 9. The shirt stayed up for 20 minutes until the police removed it.The people responsible were also arrested for a criminal act in doing so. In the 2000 film Purely Belter
Purely Belter
Purely Belter is a 2000 British comedy drama film directed by Mark Herman about two teenagers trying to get money, by any means necessary, in order to get season tickets for home games played by the FA Premier League football team Newcastle United.It is based on the novel The Season Ticket by...

the angel (misidentified as female) is invoked as the "guardian angel of fucking toe-rags". The teenage delinquent heroes hope "she'll see us through" in their illicit money-making plans to obtain season tickets for Newcastle United, although what a link with Newcastle United has with a statue in Gateshead, County Durham and soon to be in the larger neighbouring city of Sunderland due to boundary changes is desputable.


Several maquette
A maquette is a small scale model or rough draft of an unfinished architectural work or a sculpture...

s were produced during the development stage of the project. A man-sized model from which the sculpture was created was sold at auction for £2 million in July 2008. An additional bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 maquette used in fundraising in the 1990s, owned by Gateshead Council, was valued at £1 million on the BBC show Antiques Roadshow
Antiques Roadshow
Antiques Roadshow is a British television show in which antiques appraisers travel to various regions of the United Kingdom to appraise antiques brought in by local people. It has been running since 1979...

on 16 November 2008. This was the most valuable item ever appraised on the programme.

Other projects

Inspired by the Angel of the North, several similar projects have been proposed. The 'Angel of the South' title has been given by some to the Willow Man
Willow Man
Willow Man is a large outdoor sculpture by Serena de la Hey, situated in a field by junction 23 of the M5 motorway near Bridgwater in Somerset, South West England...

 which sits to the side of the M5
M5 motorway
The M5 is a motorway in England. It runs from a junction with the M6 at West Bromwich near Birmingham to Exeter in Devon. Heading south-west, the M5 runs east of West Bromwich and west of Birmingham through Sandwell Valley...

 in Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

, while a project, informally named the Angel of the South
Angel of the South
The White Horse at Ebbsfleet, formerly the Ebbsfleet Landmark, colloquially the Angel of the South, is a planned white horse statue to be built in the Ebbsfleet Valley in Kent, England...

, has been proposed in Ebbsfleet
Ebbsfleet may refer to:* Ebbsfleet Valley, a redevelopment zone of the Thames Gateway in north west Kent, England**Ebbsfleet River**Ebbsfleet International railway station**Ebbsfleet United F.C., formerly Gravesend & Northfleet F.C....

, Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

. The sculpture Brick Man
Brick Man
Brick Man was an Antony Gormley sculpture proposed for the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.A male human figure standing over 100 feet high, it would have stood on a triangle of land bounded by railway lines in the Holbeck area of the city, greeting travellers arriving at Leeds railway station...

 (also by Gormley) was proposed for the Holbeck
Holbeck is a district in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.The district begins on the southern edge of the Leeds city centre and mainly lies in the LS11 Leeds postcode area. The M1 and M621 motorways used to end/begin in Holbeck. Now the M621 is the only motorway that passes through the area since...

 area of Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...


See also

  • Angel of the West
    Angel of the West
    Angel of the West is an outdoor sculpture in Jupiter, Florida, USA. The sculpture was made in 2008 by German sculptor Julian Voss-Andreae. Referencing British sculptor Antony Gormley's monumental 1998 piece Angel of the North it was created based on an antibody structure published by E. Padlan for...

  • 'Angel of the North' statue (2009) statue by Banksy
    Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter.His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine irreverent dark humour with graffiti done in a distinctive stencilling technique...

  • List of statues by height

External links

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